"Mysterious affair, electricity."

-Samuel Beckett, "Theatre II"



"Electricity is a vast country, of which we know only some bordering provinces........"

Ben Franklin





"....I was fishing. "De ye ken," he asked, how to make Fairy Fire? Obviously he had inherited the knowledge from ancient folk-lore. You take, so he taught me, two largish pebbles of white quartz from the river-bed where they have been polished smooth by the flow of water, and then in the dark of a cupboard or cellar you rub them hard together. The friction creates a fluttering light as though a luminous butterfly was beating its wings within your hands, a phenomenon known to scientists as triboluminescence, it is due to an electron breaking away from the nucleus, like a dancer scampering off and out from a circle of Highland reel-dancers and doing a little jig on its own-very egotistical and reprehensible behaviour. Eventually the electron gets cast into outer darkness until it finds another group to join up with which may be less pleasant than the first! You can never ignite a fire by this means, so it forms a safe and delightful game for small children who can hide in a dark cupboard to perform this "magic."

-Flavia Anderson

The ancient Secret: Fire From the Sun



   "Life and death, destruction and creation, weather, chemical reactions-all of it in the mind of the great intellects of the day devolved from the finger of God. Those who explored the great movements of God's hand chose not to challenge the deity, not to supplant him, but only to better comprehend the universe they traveled in. This new energy was the ultimate juxtaposition of opposites, capable of moving mountains with God's miraculous strength.

   But this new energy force was not merely the oft-exalted finger of God. This was his very bloodstream, the all-powerful animating dynamo of existence some thought too terrible to embrace. They knew from their Bibles that their Lord dwelt in a special place between the metallic surfaces of the gold cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant. Exodus 25:22 There above the cover between, between the two cherubim that are over the ark....I will meet with you and give all my commands.

   Leviticus 16:2: The LORD said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron not to come whenever he chooses into the most holy place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the the cloud over the atonement cover.

   Within the eighteenth century mind-set of those who discovered this new force, it was also too frightful to handle. Those who even touched it would be shocked or could be killed. Yet this energy could uplift the world. Awesome in every way, utterly incomprehensible, impeccable in its purity, miraculous in its might, the world changed when it discovered the new omnipresent, inexhaustible, completely clean power source.

   In 1752, Benjamin Franklin discovered modern electricity......"

-Edwin Black

Internal Combustion


"In one of his writings, Isaac Bashevis Singer imagines a peasant in medieval Ireland who takes of his flaxen tunic one night and notices bright sparks leaping from the fabric: if Singer's peasant called in the village priest and other wise elders to see it happen the next night, they would be unlikely to notice anything; static electric sparks usually appear only in dry air, and Ireland is wet. No one would believe what he's seen; no one would have been able to examine it further. Even in dry desert countries, dust or sand could make scattered sparks seem to appear and disappear in purely random ways.

   There were many fragmentary efforts to penetrate this hidden world, from classical Greek times on, but even into the mid-1700s there was little true knowledge. The breakthrough came with the work of a conveniently vain Italian investigator, Alesandro Volta, in the 1790s. It would be a great honor, he felt, to locate the portal from which this mysterious "electricity" emerged, and after much effort he realized where he should search. he found that if he pressed a coin-shaped copper disc against one side of his tongue, and a zinc disc against the other, and then touched the tips of the two coins together, a tingling sensation would race across his tongue. he'd located the world's first steadily operating "battery"-in his mouth. "

-David Bodanis

Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity


   "Electricity also operates in our own private thinking machines-the human brain-and the book ends with a section showing how this was discovered, and how it led to pills such as Prozac, which, when swallowed, actually turn into liquid electricity that can shape our very mood. We use electricity to sense every person and sight around us; anyone we touch or kiss is forever beyond our reach, with glowing electrons from our fingers of lips always getting in the way of direct contact.

   It's a wondrous topic, but a complex one. To keep the main text from being loaded with details and qualifications, notes at the end of the book give more backing for the various explanations, as well as derivations of such curios as the fact that invisible waves stream out from our brains with a wave-length of about 200 miles; beyond that, there's a website-   -that looks into the science and history a little further."

-David Bodanis

Electric Universe; The Shocking True Story of Electricity


"The telegraph binds together by a vital cord all the nations of the earth....It is impossible that old prejudices and hostilities should longer exist, while such an instrument has been created for an exchange of thought between all the nations of the earth."

-1858 editorial in New Englander



"Electricity is really different from everything else. it cannot be stored, it cannot be seen, and we cannot do without it....It is a public good that must be protected from private abuse."

-S. David Freeman

Chair of the California Power Authority 2000


   "Electricity was the only form of energy that was easily stored and transmitted over long distances. Wherever it was applied on a large scale, it transformed almost every aspect of human life. Cities were illuminated; homes eventually got washing machines, telephones, and radios. Refrigeration allowed food to be stored longer and transported over long distances. Transportation accelerated. Precision increased over long distances. Transportation accelerated. Precision increased. Compact electric engines were fitted on all sorts of work products to boost productivity. Entire new industrial sectors came into being. Aluminum, for example, could be cost-effectively extracted from its ores and refined only with massive amounts of electricity. Countries rich in hydroelectric power, such as the United States, Canada, and Norway, became world leading aluminum producers. Cheap aluminum, in turn, spurred advances in manufacturing airplanes, ships, and cars. Along with steel, petroleum, and the internal combustion engine, electricity became one of the dynamic foundations of the mass production industrial revolution that superseded the age of steam and iron."

-Steven Solomon

Water: The Epic Struggle For Wealth, Power, and Civilization


"the approximately 275 million people in the United States are connected in one giant grid, one of the biggest "machines" earth. Every time we plug an appliance into an electrical socket or turn on the lights, our electricity comes through a network of wires stretching thousands of miles in all directions. Wattage can be generated anywhere and added to the reservoir. Someone in Tacoma turns on a lamp and accesses the same electrical reservoir as someone in Miami using a blow dryer. Electricity from one wire flows into the next, following the path of least resistance until a substation or a router determines that California needs more power or the air conditioners are running overtime in Atlanta. An excess of electricity flowing in or out can cause a short, leaving people into the dark. The Grid is balanced across 150 control stations across the country, monitored and adjusted at each, to match, to match supply with demand as it changes constantly."

Shira P. White & G. Patton Wright

New Ideas About New Ideas



"Our lives are merely strange dark interludes in the electrical display of God the Father."

-Eugene O' Neill



"Electricity is becoming more and more an important factor in our lives.....after a considerable amount of time it will become practically necessary for our existence."

-Nikola Tesla  1893




"It will not long before we can transmit that power (of Niagara Falls) by means of a wire....over great distances....I believe the time will come when we shall transmit that energy without any wire."

-Nikola Tesla



" The criterion of 'good design' of all electrical machines is expressed by a constant....which gives a measure of the effective utilization for the transformation of energy."

-Gabriel Kron, 1930



"Einstein was acquainted with another electrodynamics paradox as well, one that had turned up literally in his own backyard, in the iron and copper dynamos that his father and his uncle Jakob had built in an electrical shop behind the family home in the Munich suburbs. The principle of the dynamo, established by Faraday, was that the field created by a whirling magnet will generate an electrical current in a surrounding web of wire. This finding had tremendous practical potential: The energy of a steam engine or a flowing stream could be harness to produce electricity that could then be exported via electrical lines to power machinery and illuminate City streets miles away. Although the Einstein family never managed to make much of a living from it, dynamo design was on the forefront of contemporary technology, and giant steam-driven dynamos were being commissioned and built at considerable expense. yet their performance could not be predicted with exactitude so long as the behavior of the electromagnetic field within the dynamo was so poorly understood. Under existing theory, the moving field was to be explained according to one set of rules if viewed from the perspective of a dynamo's rotating magnet, and another if viewed from the stationary electrical coil. Every dynamo housed a whirling mystery."

-Timothy Ferris

Coming of Age In The Milky Way


*A sense of the allure of the dynamo was preserved by the American historian Henry Adams in his The Education of Henry Adams. Describing his visit to the "great hall of dynamos" at the Paris Exposition in 1900, he writes, "To Adams the dynamo became a symbol of infinity. As he grew accustomed to the great gallery of machines, he began to feel the forty-foot dynamos as a moral force much as the early Christians felt the Cross. The planet itself seemed less impressive, in its old fashioned, deliberate, annual or daily revolution, than this huge wheel."



   "Early in 1809 he wrote home that he found Professor Jeremiah Day's lectures on electricity "very interesting....he has given us some very fine experiments, the whole class taking hold of hands, for the circuit of communications, and we all received the shock apparently at the same moment: "

-Samuel F.B. Morse

-Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. Those Inventive Americans   National Geographic



"If this be so, and the presence of electricity can be made visible in any desired part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence might not be instantaneously transmitted by electricity to any distance"

-Samuel F.B. Morse   1815



   "Late in 1842 Morse made one more trip to Washington to seek money from congress, he wrote to his brother Sidney of his desire to cease being a burden to his family and "to have the means of helping others." His old friend, the sculptor Horatio Greenough, noted: "Poor Morse is here with his beautiful, his magic telegraph....he goes regularly to the House.

   finally both House and Senate passed his bill..."

Samuel F.B. Morse

 by Carroll W. Pursell, Jr. in Those Inventive Americans   National Geographic Society


   "Electromagnetism' is a single word for a reason. Magnetism and electric force are inextricable twins. A moving electric current generates a magnetic field, and a changing magnetic field generates electric currents in anything present that will conduct it. This is how our electric plants work. Physical force from coal, oil, or falling water moves a mass of copper wires past a huge magnet, and an electric current is generated. This is the principle of physics known as induction."

-John Burke & Kaj Halberg

Seed of Knowledge Stone of Plenty: Understanding the Lost Technology of the Ancient Megalith-Builders



   "In 1820 the Danish experimenter H.C. Oersted reported his discovery that an electric current sets up a magnetic field around the metal that conducts it. Almost immediately, distinguished European investigators began to probe the mysteries of electromagnetism.

   Henry, (Joseph Henry) the provincial American teacher, turned to the problem. soon he discovered ways to increase the power and therefore the lift of such devices. In 1831 he published the different results he obtained by wrapping different numbers and lengths of wire around the soft iron core of the magnet. These he related to the size and type of battery best for a specific purpose.

   By following his own rules he lifted 750 pounds with a magnet weighing 21 pounds-and as far as he knew, the previous record was held by an electromagnet in Philadelphia that weighed 52 pounds but could lift only 310.

   News of probably the world's most powerful magnet reached the Penfield Iron Works at crown Point, just north of Fort Ticonderoga. The firm ordered two of the professor's new magnets to separate iron from its ore. Soon after, the name of crown Point was changed to Port Henry-an early honor for the man who struggled so hard to advance American science and bring it to bear on practical problems.

   Next, Henry turned to the obvious question: How could one reverse the process and turn magnetism into electricity."

from Those Inventive Americans National Geographic society pub....


"Today we come to a kind of attraction even more curious than the last, namely, the attraction which we find to be of a double nature, of a curious and dual nature. And I want first of all to make the nature of this doubleness clear to you. Bodies are sometimes endowed with a wonderful attraction, which is not found in them in their ordinary state. for instance, here is a piece of shellac, having the attraction of gravitation, having the attraction of cohesion and, if I set fire to it, it would have the attraction of chemical affinity to the oxygen in the atmosphere. Now, all these powers we find in it as if they were parts of its substance, but there is another property which I will try and make evident by means of this ball, this bubble of air (a light india-rubber ball, inflated and suspended by a thread). There is no attraction between this ball and this shellac present: there may be a little wind in the room slightly moving the ball about, but there is no attraction. But if I rub the shellac with a piece of flannel (rubbing the shellac, and then holding it near the ball), look at the attraction which has arisen out of the shellac simply by this friction, and which I may take away as easily by drawing it gently through my hand.

This, then, is sufficient in the outset to give you an idea of the nature of the force which we call ELECTRICITY."

Michael Faraday


   "Faraday was celebrated as a working-class hero, a classic case of rags-to-riches triumph He took over Knight's magnetic machine for his own experiments, but Knight also bequeathed a far more significant legacy-he helped to convince the state that science mattered. Faraday benefited from opportunities that had not existed when Knight, a gentleman's son with an Oxford degree, was struggling to make his own living from science. Knight had been forced to sell his scientific services to survive, but salaried Victorian scientists like Faraday could afford to think of themselves as being above such sordid matters. When the Prime Minister asked him if his electromagnetic machinery would ever be of any use, Faraday supposedly replied 'Why sir, there is every possibility that you soon will be able to tax it!"

   Faraday's sardonic prediction proved right: we now depend on the giant electromagnetic industry he spawned, which drives our scientific consumer society. yet that is not our only inheritance from the past. Mesmer was excommunicated from the science that Faraday was welcomed into, but thanks to him, magnetism's ancient sexualized vocabulary survives. A few years ago, a theatre reviewer summarized a play's plot as 'an intense ballet of attraction and repulsion' between a young lady and the family servant. 'The are', he told his newspaper readers, 'magnetized to each other in a lusting/loathing way until the famous backstage copulation makes the force-field between them go haywire." The force-field is Faraday's, but the metaphor is mesmeric."

-Patricia Fara

Fatal Attraction: Magnetic Mysteries of the Enlightenment


"The most important invention in the past two thousand years must be a seminal invention with the broadest and most significant consequences. In my opinion, it is the invention by Otto von Guericke in 1660 of a machine that produced static electricity. Although electrical and magnetic phenomena were noted and commented on many centuries earlier, von Guericke's invention was the first machine to produce electricity. This device was the primitive tool that unlocked our understanding and application of electricity. Improvements and elaborations of the von Guericke machine followed fairly rapidly over the next several centuries, contributing to a growing understanding of electricity and its practical utilization. Modern power generation, communication, computation, transportation, and almost all of our most important analytic devices stand on the foundation of von Guericke's machine. At the level of everyday living, it is hard to imagine any of our manufacturing facilities or our households with electricity. A long line of basic intellectual formulations, from electro-magnetism to the bioelectric properties of brain mechanisms, owe a debt to this invention...."

Arnold Tehub

The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years   Ed by John Brockman


   ...Static electricity was known since at least the time of the Greeks, but study of it had largely stalled. When Pieter van Musschenbroek built and discharged the first Leyden jar in 1745, nearly killing himself in the process, he also jolted the study of electricity back to life. But it was Volta's invention of a steady source of current, inspired by the electrochemical observations of Galvani, that revolutionized technology and physics. With it, Hans Christian Oersted could not have proved that electricity and magnetism were different faces of the same force, electromagnetism. Electro-chemistry itself offered clues to the underlying electrical nature of all matter. And of course Volta's battery was the forerunner of all the electrical devices that have transformed the world over the past two centuries.."

John Rennie   Editor-in-chief of Scientific American



   "In 1800, Volta applied his understanding of Galvani's error along with the concept of the disparate metals in his electrophorus and created something new and stunning. Volta's so-called pile, a long series of copper and zinc disks separated by moistened cardboard sections, could absorb a significant amount of generated current that could be stored and then released in a measured fashion at will. This rudimentary contraption was the world's first genuine battery."

Edwin Black

Internal Combustion: How Corporations and Governments Addicted The World to Oil and Derailed The Alternatives



"Noyses may bee made in the aire like thunders...Yea with greater horror then those that come by Nature: for a little matter fitten to the quantitie of a thumbe, maketh a horrible noyse, and wonderfull lightning....whereby any citie and armie may be destroyed."

-Francis Bacon The Mirror of Alchemy



"Few men possess the gift of seeing things from the viewpoint of a child so clearly as Alexander Graham Bell."

-editor of his book "Simple Experiments"



"With 1,093 patents to his name, he  (Edison) was the most productive inventor in the history of the United Sates, and possibly the most productive in the history of the human race"

L. Sprague de Camp



"I adhere to the idea that there is such a thing that we have been in the habit of calling electricity. The question is, what is that thing? or, What, of all things, the existence of which we know, have we the best reason to call electricity. We know that it acts like an uncompressible fluid; that there must be a constant quantity of it in nature; that it can be neither produced nor destroyed; and, what is more important, the electro-magnetic theory light and all facts observed teach us that electric and ether phenomena are identical. In fact, The idea at once suggests itself, there fore, that electricity might be called ether."

-Nikola Tesla



"It hath been doubted whether so ingenious and dreadful a Machine could be a humane Invention.....when it was first published, the World thought she had lost all her strength; for what more terrible or violent could humane Wit invent to its own destruction, than this artificial Lightning and Thunder."

-William Clarke, 1670



   "As far back as Ben Franklin and his electric kite, people have always found the notion of pure electricity entertaining. Around 1780, simply capturing enough electricity in a glass jar to make a small spark on command was enough to excite entire towns to enthusiastic appreciation.

   Throughout the eighteenth century electricity was a major entertainment draw. Electrical demonstrations took the place of theater. Electrocution of small animals, particularly birds, became a morbid but popular form of entertainment. The ability to supply a painful but momentary surprise shock to unsuspecting friends at parties passed for great wit and charm. And the general population began to fill lecture halls in hopes of witnessing the production of artificial electrical sparks. Independent lecturers, ranging from serious, learned academics on down to simple hucksters, traveled America and Europe, attracting large crowds willing to pay big money."

-William Gurstelle

Adventures from the Technology Underground



"Mr. Edison was enraptured. He fairly gloated over it. The power was applied.....and eight electric lights were kept ablaze at one time, and each being equal to 4,000 candles.....This filled up Mr. Edison's cup of joy. He ran from the instruments to the lights, and from the lights back to the instrument. He sprawled over a table with the simplicity of a child, and made all kinds of calculations."

Randall Stross

The Wizard of Menlo Park



  "Throughout the nineteenth century, electricity was temptress and seducer, feared and coveted, a force that could animate life or inflict death. Electrification threatened a public who treasured shadows and secrets and who yearned for a universe in which "wild facts' preserved a feeling of wonder. What electricity generated most pervasively was anxiety."

Linda Simon

Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety From the Telegraph to the X-Ray



"A new sort of urban star now shines out nightly, horrible, unearthly, obnoxious to the human eye; a lamp for a nightmare."

-Robert Louis Stevenson


"Communism is the Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."

-V.I. Lenin


"What is electricity? We do not know, and for practical purposes it is not necessary that we should know. We are only concerned in what its properties are-how we can make it obedient to our will."

Electricity in Homes,1889


"Electricity is in essence, a form of bottled lightning. "

Phillip F. Schewe

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World



   "The electrical grid, made of metal, is not a living thing, but an impartial observer from Mars might suppose that it comes close to being alive. Look at the manifest gridness of the grid. Like the human body the electrical grid possesses a sort of nervous system that both senses and actuates. The grid constantly samples its local environment (for example, it affirms that current is flowing through appropriate wires) and senses appropriate commands to outlying sectors. The grid has an equivalent to the endocrine system-electrical instead of chemical-in that it constantly executes fine adjustments of vital parameters (voltage or frequency levels) as they are needed to maintain proper hormonal balance. The grid has a counterpart immune system (consisting of, for example, protective circuit breakers and relief valves) for the self-healing of various disorders...."

Phillip F. Schewe

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World


"Electricity and magnetism are those forces of nature by which people who know nothing about electricity and magnetism can explain everything."

-Egon Friedell


"It never ends. You have to pour in some energy at the start to get the initial electric charge to shake, but once you've done that, once you've made the first of these mutually connected fields start to wobble, you can walk away. Decades and millennia might pass, our earthly existence might be totally forgotten, but the forward-stretching ripples you started in this combined 'electric-plus-magnetic" force field will keep on traveling. It is immortal. The ripples are the magic carpets flying through the heavens; they "weave a web across the sky," .....

David Bodanis

Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story of Electricity


"(Electricity) has become a mighty kingdom. we perceive (it) in a thousand places where we had no proof of its existence before.....the domain of electricity extends over the whole of nature...."

-diary of Heinrich Hertz, 1889


"When science discovered the secret of electricity, on that day science was also discovering the secret of the soul. For the secret of the soul is not far removed from the secret of electricity."

Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Sufi Message


"When the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it."

-Erasmus Wilson (Professor at Oxford University), 1878



"People stood overwhelmed with awe, as if in the presence of the supernatural. The strange weird light exceeded in power only by the sun, rendered the square as light as midday....Men fell on their knees, groans were uttered at the sight, and many were dumb with amazement."

-The Wabash Plain Dealer (inauguration of the electric system)




...In 1901, L. Frank Baum, author of the Wizard of Oz, wrote the ponderously titled The Master Key: An Electrical Fairy Tale, Founded Upon the Mysteries of Electricity and the Optimism of its Devotees. It Was Written for Boys, but Others May Read It. In The Master Key, the young protagonist accidentally summons the "Demon of the Master Key" while doing electrical experiments. Contemptuous of Edison, whom he regards as "groping blindly after insignificant effects," the demon alone knows how to direct the electric powers...."

Michael Brian Schiffer

Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile In America



"Electricity is the natural medium for the application of motive power. Its supply is unlimited. It is everywhere. It is to movement, what the sun is to growth."

Western Electrician, January 1898



"There is every reason to believe that the electric vehicle industry, is well established on a sure foundation and that it will grow rapidly, especially in the estimation of the public, without which support no enterprise of a semi-public nature could long exist."

Editorial, Electrical World, August 1897



"The electric automobile is a thing of beauty, and could be made one of great utility. The motors and the batteries are perfect mechanisms, central stations are in need of the load, and the only thing that appears to be in the way of a remarkable taking up of the electric automobile idea is the lack of intelligent coordination of the various industries represented."

Editorial, Electrical Review, Feb 13, 1909



"The average central station, for off-peak power, would require no additional investment beyond the charging set, which is very moderate, and the average cost of such power certainly should be, if anything, less that one cent per kilowatt hour....I believe it is well worth while for the central station to give that matter careful consideration. Put your house in order and keep in view the getting control of this business while it is still in the very beginning."

-Charles P Steinmetz, before the thirty-seventh National Electric Light Association Convention, Philadelphia, June 1-5, 1914




"Energy is a very subtle concept. It is very, very difficult to get right. What I mean by that is it is not easy to understand energy well enough to use it right, so that you can deduce something correctly, using the energy idea."

-Richard Feynman




   "What most of us think about energy supply is wrong. Energy supplies are unlimited; it is energetic order that's scarce, and the order in energy that's expensive. Energy supplies are determined mainly by how cleverly we're able to impose logic and order on the mountains and catacombs of energy that surround and envelop us. Supplies do not ultimately depend on the addition of reserves, the development of new fuels, or the husbanding of known resources. Energy begets more energy; tomorrow's supply is determined by today's consumption. The more energy we seize and use, the more adept we become at finding and seizing still more."

Peter W. Huber & Mark P. Mills

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, The virtue of waste, and And Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy



"The source of material civilization is developed power. If one has this developed power at hand, then a use for it will easily be found....The way to liberty; the way to equality of opportunity, the way from empty phrases to actualities, lies through power; the machine is only an incident."

-Henry Ford (1926)




"The prominent feature of the 1899 Exhibition will certainly be automobilism. The exhibit of electric vehicles will be by long odds the largest and best ever seen in America, and second only to the great exhibits of Paris; in fact, in many respects it will surpass the displays of Europe....Because the vehicles shown will demonstrate the high perfection that the art has already reached in this country."

Scientific American Magazine 1899




"How can he (Thomas Alva Edison) call it a wonderful success when everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure?"

-Henry Morton (Professor of Physics and President of the Stevens Institute of Technology), commenting on Edison's electric light bulb Dec 28,1879




"Then there is electricity, the demon, the angel, the mighty physical power. The all-pervading intelligence�.is it a fact that�.by means of electricity the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence! Or, shall we say, it is itself thought, nothing but thought, and no longer the substance which we deemed it."

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1860)

The House of the Seven Gables



"Experiments in electricity were the most amateurish, the most frivolous and the most fashionable of any attempted during the Enlightenment, yet the greatest strides in 18th Century physics were made in this field. With static electricity generators, Leyden jars (capacitors) and electrical circuits already known and easy to assemble, amateur "laboratories" sprang up everywhere. Many advances were accomplished by dilettantes, with their gadgets and party jokes. One of these, the "electric kiss," was the favorite of a German professor. He charged a pretty girl with static electricity; when men came forward to kiss here they got a shock that, as the scholar happily put it, nearly "broke their teeth."

   More systematic experiments got under way at mid-century when Ben Franklin began to ask the crucial question: just what is electricity? Though Franklin was a jokester too (he almost killed himself electrocuting a Christmas turkey), he had a sound grasp of scientific methods. He began to state hypotheses that could be tested by simple experiments. It was Franklin's "one-fluid" theory of electricity that eventually proved the truest explanation of the phenomenon that the age called "the electric virtue." ....

Age of Enlightenment (from 'Great Ages of Man")




"Ah, the promise of the night, Says the soul of the toiler to itself, 'I shall soon be free. I shall be in the ways and the hosts of the merry. The streets, the lamp, the lighted chamber....are for me.'"



   "Ideas chased each other at breakneck speed through Tesla's fevered brain. Niagara Falls, which perhaps owes more to him than to any other scientist, took hold of his imagination at an early age. At fifteen he began to experiment with various water turbines. During his bout of malaria, when he read voraciously, he opened an old book and found an engraving of the Falls. It fascinated him. In his mind he saw how a great wheel might be made to turn under the cataract's tremendous power. he told his uncle of his daydream-that some day he would go to America and harness the runaway waters of the Falls. years later he remarked , "I saw my ideas carried out at Niagara and I marveled at the mystery of the mind."

Pierre Berton

Niagara: A History of the Falls


   "People who had taken the genie of electricity for granted all their lives now came to realize they had become its slaves. The experience of the family of Edwin Robins, a mechanical engineer in Queens, was typical of that of thousands of gadget lovers who suddenly found that nothing worked. In the Robins house it wasn't only the lights that went off. The heat went off because the oil furnace was triggered by electricity. The refrigerator stopped running. The stove wouldn't work. The house was a machine that had run out of power. The intercom system didn't work, nor did the multitone door chimes. The Danish dining-room chandelier didn't work. The bedroom clocks didn't work. The hair dryer, the electric blankets, the can opener, the toothbrush, and the razor were all unusable. Even the electric-eye garage door was out of business. The Robins family, who had learned to Live Better Electrically, in the enthusiastic advertising phrase of the day, now found themselves reduced to searing steaks over an outdoor barbecue."

(about the great Blackout of Nov 9,1965)

             Pierre Berton

Niagara: A History of the Falls




   "For the first time many people began to realize the extent of the electrical revolution. It was only sixty-nine years since Niagara Falls power had begun to propel the Buffalo streetcars. Since that day, every house had become an electrical machine, and when the power went off, the machine ran down; as the Robins family discovered, everything from TV sets to food mixers stopped functioning.

   In spite of the $100-million damage bill for business, the great black-out was no more than a minor glitch in a world attuned to and dazzled by scientific progress. Its chief legacy, and a sobering one, was its demonstration, in the most graphic manner possible, of the utter vulnerability of the modern urban human animal."

Pierre Berton



A prototype fuel cell that could turn every household into a mini power station has been developed at Keel University in Staffordshire, Chemist Kevin Kendall and his colleagues have incorporated a ceramic battery into a conventional gas-powered water heater. Free electrons produced by the combustion of natural gas and oxygen are used to create a voltage across a thousand tiny tubes of zirconium oxide coated inside and out with metal alloys. This would provide enough electricity to power and average house. A commercial version costing 500 lbs could eliminate domestic electricity bills, Kendall says.


A Latham, N.Y. company wants to put a power plant in your backyard. Plug Power is testing a residential fuel cell system in a proof-of-concept home. The house taps into the natural gas distribution network, processing the gas into a hydrogen-rich stream that combines with oxygen in the air to drive the fuel cell�s chemical reaction. The system generates electricity for 7 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (on par with utility prices) and emits only carbon dioxide, water and heat (which can be recycled to warm the home�s air and water).


"Water decomposed into its primitive elements�.by electricity, which will then have become a powerful and manageable force. Yes, my friends, I believe that water will one day be employed as a fuel, that hydrogen and oxygen, which constitute it, used singly or together, will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light�.One day the engine rooms of streamers and the tenders of locomotives will be stores with these two condensed gases, which will burn with enormous calorific power�.Water will be the coal of the future."

Jules Verne (1874)

The Mysterious Island


"One thing I feel sure of and that is that the human race must finally utilize direct sun power or revert to barbarism" (because eventually all coal and oil will be used up). I would recommend all far-sighted engineers and inventors to work in this direction to their own profit, and the eternal welfare of the human race."

Frank Schuman 1910

The Power of Light: The Epic Story of Man's Quest to Harness the Sun

by Frank T. Kryza


"If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations."

-Nikola Tesla  1900


"With my transmitter I actually sent electrical vibrations around the world and received them again, and I then went on to develop my machinery"

-Nikola Tesla Los Angeles Times, Dec 1904


"As Tesla experimented with a 1.5 MW system in 1899 at Colorado Springs, he was amazed to find that pulses of electricity he sent out passed across the entire globe and returned with "undiminished strength'. He said: It was a result so unbelievable that the revelation at first almost stunned me. This verified the tremendous efficiency of his peculiar method of pumping current into a spherical ball to charge it up before discharging it as a pulse of electricity; a "longitudinal" acoustic type of compression wave, rather than an electromagnetic Hertzian type of transverse wave. It was therefore more akin to electrostatic discharge than wave mechanics."

Article from Nexus New Times May-June 2005   article "Free Energy From Tesla's Wireless Electricity" by Thomas Valone



   "Tesla stated: "As to the transmission of power through space, that is a project which I considered absolutely certain of success long since. Years ago I was in the position to transmit wireless power to any distance without limit other than that imposed by the physical dimensions of the globe. In my system it makes no difference what the distance is. The efficiency of the transmission can be as high as 96 or 97 percent, and there are practically no losses except such as are inevitable in the running of the machinery. When there is no receiver, there is no energy consumption anywhere. When the receiver is put on, it draws power. That is the exact opposite of the Hertz-wave system. In that case, if you have a plant of 1,000 horsepower (750 kW), it is radiating all the time whether the energy is received or not; but in my system no power is lost. When there are no receivers, the plant consumes only a few horsepower necessary to maintain the vibration; it runs idle, as the Edison plant when the lamps and motors are shut off."



"Soon the German professor G.M. Bose built a powerful machine whose massive wheel could generate static of a force unknown before. News came of one German demonstration in which a man kissed an electrified woman. 'Fire flashed from her lips in such abundance,' wrote an English observer, Henry Baker, 'that they were both heartily frightened and also felt some Pain. Baker was sure that when the device reached London 'our own Country-Women will be found to have as much Fire in their Lips as well as in their Eyes as any of their Sex in Germany.

Jenny Uglow

The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World



   "Sometimes electrified railways seemed to defy the laws of perpetual motion. For example, when the brakes were applied or the train traveled down a slope, the engine actually returned electricity to the grid. Regenerative braking and similar power returns helped the engines pay for themselves. In some mountain ranges, if timed correctly, a heavy downhill train could actually regenerate enough electricity to the grid to power another train passing it uphill. Thus both trains would travel in a minuet of seemingly energy-free motion. That might have seemed to violate the laws of physics, but not the rules of General Electric's wondrous workhorses, which were designed to observe this maxim: It is better to give than receive when it comes to electrical power. Those engines lasted not for years but for decades. Their endurance was measured in millions of miles. They were monumental vehicles that created economic prosperity and environmental balance everywhere they rolled."

Edwin Black

Internal Combustion


"I think more and more that the new Space age, and the new everything age, is linked more and more to the new energy revolution.

What energy revolution is that?

For one thing, there is this so-called cold fusion. Which is neither cold nor fusion. Very few Americans seem to know what is happening, which is incredible. Its all over the world, except the United States. There are hundreds of laboratories doing it, they've got patents all over the place. The prototypes are on sale now. There are 7,000 units operating in Russia right now and no one in the United States seems to know about it."

Arthur C. Clarke

Discover May 1997


"The biggest scandal in the history of science" 

Arthur C. Clarke


(The U.S. Patent office refuses to offer patents on this technology) Ed




"The planetary machine is on track to use half of all the world's electricity by 2010"

George Gilder




"In 1040, "the United States prided itself on using half the world's electricity", Since 1980, the US has also doubled its electrical transmission grid inefficiency. From 31 quads (quadrillion BTUs) generated, two thirds is totally wasted in conversion losses, with only about 11 quads (3.7 trillion kWh) delivered to the end-user.' Instead of trying to build two power plants per week (at 300 MW each) for the next 20 years (only to have a total of an additional 6.0 kWh available by 2020), as the Bush-Cheney administration wants to do, we simply need to eliminate the 7.0 trillion kWh of conversion losses in our present electricity generation modality."

-Thomas Valone, PhD,PE   President Integrity Research Institute




   "He was supposed to be the greatest electrician of his age. Yet he didn't even know what was happening inside an electric wire. Most of the timed, when journalists asked him to try to explain how these great inventions really worked. Edison would just laugh them off. He'd say that those matters were for the fancy professors to work out, that he would be long dead before that happened. Once, though, Edison did come across a hint. In 1885 he noticed that a black spot occasionally appeared on the inside of one or another bulb he was testing. This was odd, because the glass was always spotless when it was sealed around the filament. The dot couldn't have a scratch (the filament never touched the glass) nor could it have been dust or soot there was scarcely any air inside the bulb to carry dust).

   Edison was puzzled by the dots. Was something flying out from the filament to create a dot? He wanted to explore further but his assistants backed off. If it was a practical invention they'd have worked any hours to help the Old Man. But small black dots? Edison tried to keep investigating on his own, but was hard without support, and in a few months he gave up "I was working on so many things at that time," he once said, many years later. "that I had no time to do anything more about it."

   It was the mistake of a lifetime......"

DAvid Bodanis

Electric Universe




"Why, with all my work in electricity, I don't know what electricity is. True. I've thought out several inventions and made my brain and body weary thereby, and I've got my name noised about, but what have I done-what do I know-after all? Why, simply this: very little, hardly anything, when we think of the things still to be done and still to be learned-of the forces all around us that we don't understand in the least-that we scarcely dream of."





   "The interest in electricity went beyond the thrill of experiment. Indeed it aroused hot arguments on the propriety of demonstrating in public at all. Was it right to reveal these 'marvelous' effects to gasping crowds? Was electricity a material or divine emanation. 'the Soul of the World?" Were the demonstrations a manifestation of 'nature' or a new class of conjuring trick? A controversy arose, dividing on party lines, with progressive minded Whigs championing the demonstrators, and high-church Tories claiming it was blasphemy to expose God's secrets to an ignorant populace. Darwin sided with the first group. Leaving school and heading for Cambridge in October 1750, he was sure that asking questions could be nothing but good, and that the only way to find general 'truths' was from experiment. this might not be infallible, Newton had said, 'yet it is the best way of arguing which the nature of things admits of. It was the way that Darwin, for one, would argue throughout his life."

Jenny Uglow

The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose curiosity Changed the World


   "The electromagnetic force takes a variety of forms, including electricity, magnetism, and light itself. The electromagnetic force lights our cities, fills the air with music from radios and stereos, entertains us with with television, reduces housework with electrical appliances, heats our food with microwaves, tracks our planes and space probes with radar, and electrifies our power plants. More recently, the power of the electromagnetic force has been used in electronic computers (which have revolutionized the office, home, school, and military) and in lasers (which have introduced new vistas in communications, surgery, compact disks, advanced Pentagon weaponry, and even the check-out stands in groceries). More than half the gross national product of the earth, representing the accumulated wealth of our planet, depends in some way on the electron g-netic force."

-Michio Kaku







   The quest for energy has occupied the efforts of the human race, since Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and then delivered it to mankind? Traditionally man's first efforts centered around heat based devices which consumed fuel. However. there has always been researchers seeking to unleash the power of magnetism. One of the first was Petrus Peregrinus, an engineer in the engineering corps of the French army during their siege of Lucera in southern Italy (1269AD).

In the midst of these hostilities, Petrus turned his thoughts to magnetism, its peculiar properties and the possibility of harnessing its power. he drew up the rough draft of an overunity device. fortunately, Petrus was a scholar as well as a gentleman, and placed his thoughts on parchment where they laid undisturbed for hundreds of years in the libraries of Europe. After its discovery, this letter of 3500 words was deemed the first great landmark in the domain of magnetic philosophy....the next landmark being Gilbert's writing on magnetism-DEMagnete-in 1690, Gilbert, himself, often refers to Petrus's letter in his treatise."

Exotic Research Report  July/Aug,Sept 1999




"But the greatest Curiosity, upon which the Fate of the Island depends, is a Load-stone of a prodigious size, in shape resembling a Weavers Shuttle.....This Magnet is sustained by a very strong Axle of Adamant passing through its middle, upon which it plays, and is poised so exactly that the weakest Hand can turn it....Upon placing the Magnet erect with its attracting End towards the Earth, the Island descends; but when the repelling Extremity points downwards, the Island mounts directly upwards."

-Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726


"Then thrice and thrice with steady eye he guides,

And o'er the adhesive train the magnet slides;

The obedient Steel with living instinct moves,

And veers for ever to the pole it loves.

'Hail, adamantine STEEL! magnetic Lord!

King of the prow, the plowshare, and the sword!'

-Erasmus Darwin, 1791


"As the magnet selects from a quantity of matter the ferruginous particles, which happen to be scattered through it, without making an impression on other substances; so imagination, by a similar sympathy, equally inexplicable, draws out from the whole compass of nature such ideas as we have occasion for, without attending to any others."

-Alexander Gerard, An Essay on Taste, 1764

Book: "Fatal Attraction: Magnetic Mysteries of the Enlightenment" by Patricia Fara



"The universe is very old now, and the original electric charges from the Big Bang have long since dispersed. Many of the individual charges were destroyed as they traveled the galaxies, but in their place-always-new charges were created. No exception has ever been found; the sum of electric charge in the universe has never changed.

   Dawn has come over raw, molten planets, and ingeniously electrisealed living molecules have evolved and reproduced. Assemblages of self-conscious neural cells have taken shape to become sentient brains, and electrically operating retinal cells have guided mobile beings.

   In all those lives, in all those eons, this one constant has remained. All the firestorms and cyanide apples and telegraph messages have existed simply because of the shifting from place to place of those charges. Sometimes those electric charges have been channeled down copper wires, sometimes they've moved through the neurons of lovers, or students, or wild-eyed political demons, at yet another time, in the future, electric and magnetic fields from our destroyed sun will be sent barreling across the galaxy in turn, carrying unheard messages to far distant stars. We are fragile organisms, living amid these roaring, stately, powerful migrations of electrical charge.

   The dominion of electricity shapes us all."

-David Bodanis

Electric Universe


"he showed me his unpaid bills, which totaled more than $3,000 in South Africa's currency, the rand, and hadn't been paid in almost a year. "When they came to cut off our electricity, we begged them not to," he said. "We told them that we had babies and elderly people inside. They didn't even pause."

   "This culture of nonpayment that people say exists in Soweto" said Setshedi, "it's only because people don't have money to pay." Said Shadrack Motau, and SECC board member, "We did not give up our lives and the lives of our children only to let this brazen capitalist system exploit us even more."

   The SECC's members have tried to talk to Johannesburg's mayor about the hardships endured by families like buthelezi's, but he has repeatedly given them the slip. In the final weeks of 2001, more than twenty angry residents marched to the mayor's home, but again he ducked them.

   unable to cut off his electricity, they disconnected his water."

Jon Jetter

Flat Broke in the Free Market


   "The book also showed how to make magnets out of everyday objects, such as nails, wire, and dry cells. When electricity from a power source-such as nails, wire, and dry cells. When electricity from a power source--such as a battery-passes through a wire, it creates its own kind of natural magnetic field around the wire. This magnetic field can become even greater if that wire is coiled around a good conductor, like a nail.

   The magnetic field will become even stronger depending on the number of times the wire is wrapped around the nail. Because of this, electromagnets have many uses. They can be used as giant magnets to pick up cars and heavy pieces of metal, while smaller electromagnets help power the simple motors found in many things around us-radios, appliances, alternators in cars. .....

-William Kambwamba & Bryan Mealerr

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind  (a true story of an African boy who read a book about magnets and built his own wind generator)




"Standing there looking at this book, I decided I would build my own windmill. I'd never built anything like  it before, but I knew if windmills existed on the cover of that book, it meant another person had built them. After looking at it that way, I felt confident I could build one, too."

-William Kambwamba




China has 24 emission-free nuclear plants under construction or ready to start, and they plan a sixfold increase

"Does a Different Nuclear Power Lie ahead?" by Matt Ridley


"Peter Lloyd: Another old but good technology is the helium-cooled pebble-bed reactor. If its coolant fails, the pebble bed physically cannot heat up to a dangerous temperature and melt the ceramic fuel pebbles, nor can it threaten the integrity of the containment vessel. The hot fuel can sit at no pressure. without any coolant, in the containment vessel for as long as necessary-months, if need be-while the coolant fault is addressed. reactors of this type have been built in Germany and China and have been run without coolant.



"When all nuclear power plants are IFRs, there will be no need for uranium mines for centuries, and the thorny problem of long-lived nuclear waste will have been solved once and for all."

-Tom Blees

Prescription For the Planet


The stars in the sky are crowded as sesame seeds,

The lights in the commune shine on our family.

Mama carries little brother in her lap,

Under the light she learns reading and writing.

Stars face stars in the sky,

Under the beam of every house hangs an electric lamp.

The stars are dim against the lamplight,

The electric lights shine in everybody's heart."

contemporary Chinese Poem



"France is replacing nuclear plants with European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) Prototype being built in Finland.


See article: "Ghost in the Machine" by Bruce Schecter New Scientist 29 May 2004

Book: "An Entertainment For Angels: Electricity in the Enlightenment" by Patricia Fara

Book: "Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray" by Linda Simon

Book: "A Life of Discovery: Michael Faraday, Giant of the Scientific Revolution" by James Hamilton

Book: "Superconductivity: Its Historical Roots and Development from Mercury to the Ceramic Oxides." by Per Fridjot Dahi

Book:" Empires of Light" by Jill Jonnes

Book: "The Theology of Electricity" by Ernst Benz

Book: "Electric Universe" by David Bodans

Book: "Edison and the Electric Chair: A Story of Light and Death" by Mark Essig

Book: "Fleet Fire: Thomas Edison and the Pioneers of the Electric Revolution" by L.J. Davis

Book: "Executioner's Current: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and the Invention of the Electric Chair" by Richard Moran

Book: "AC/DC; The Savage Tale of the First Standards War" by Tom McNichol

Book: "The Scientist, the Madman, the Thief and their Light bulb" by Keith Tutt

Book: "Bolt of Fate: Benjamin Franklin and His Electric Kite Hoax" by Tom Tucker

Book: "Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America" by Philip Dray

Book: "The languages of Edison's Light" by Charles Bazerman

Book: "Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future" by Jeff Goodell

Book: "Prescription For the Planet" by Tom Blees

Read:: "The need for Nuclear Power" by Richard Rhodes and Denis Beller Foreign Affairs, Jan-Feb-2000

Book: "Power Play: The Fight To Control the World's Electricity" by Sharon Beder

Book: "Energy Power Shift" by Barry J. Hanson

Book: "The Man Who Invented the 20th Century-Nikola Tesla, Forgotten Genius of Electricity." by Robert Lomas

Book: "The Hunt For Zero Point: Inside the Classified World of anti-gravity Technology" by Nick Cook

Book: "The Scientist, the Madman, the Thief and their Light bulb" by Keith Tutt

Book: "Tesla: The Modern Sorcerer" by Daniel Blair Stewart

Book: "Homemade Lightning: Creative Experiments In Electricity" by R.A. Ford

Book: "Selected Scientific Works of Hans Christian Orsted" Ed. by Karen Jelved

Book: "Taking Charge: The Electric Automobile In America" by Michael Brian Schiffer

Book: "The Power of Light: The Epic Story of Man's Quest to Harness the Sun" by Frank T. Kryza

Book: "Power To The People: How The Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change Our Live, And Maybe Even Save The Planet" by Vijay Vaitheeswaran

Book: "From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity" by John Perlin

Book: "The electric Sky" by Donald E. Scott

Book: "the Electric Universe" by Wallace Thornhill & David Talbot

copyright 2010



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